Forward Momentum, the event organizer, says prize money will be
increased to attract the best BBQ teams in the nation

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Dec. 14, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Forward Momentum, the organizers of the new barbecue festival to take place from May 16-18, 2024, at Tom Lee Park, today announced that the festival’s overall prize money will be $250,000, spread across a number of categories, with a $50,000 purse for the Grand Champion. Organizers believe this is the largest competition purse in pork barbecue competition history and big news for Memphis and the barbecue community.

“We are committing financially in a big way to send a signal to teams that we are serious about hosting a barbecue contest that will be a world-class event, both for teams and for local and out-of-town visitors. Our mission is to attract the best teams in the U.S. and from around the world and to create a fan experience that will stimulate our local economy and businesses and keep them coming back, year after year,” said Mike Smith, Forward Momentum.

The new BBQ festival, still to be named, will take advantage of a new design at Tom Lee Park that will show off the park’s assets with as little disruption as possible: “Our event is a total fan experience. Barbeque will be at the center of the event, honoring our rich tradition of barbecue in Memphis, and it will appeal to a wider, more inclusive audience with live music, games, activities for kids, fireworks, and much more,” said Smith.

Smith said that in January, the organization will launch the event’s name and announce some interesting partnerships that will give pitmasters and teams more exposure to new fans and audiences: “We hope to take barbecue to a whole new level. This event will be well-run and financially successful and provide a great platform for world-class barbecue competitors. With that in mind, our entry fees will be in line with other competitions, and we will consult our steering committee, who represent the teams, to ensure the competition is robust and interesting for fans.”

Forward Momentum also announced that Craig Blondis, of famed Central BBQ in Memphis, has joined the organization’s steering committee. His appointment is one of many to be announced over the next few months, alongside Pitmaster Carey Bringle, from Peg Leg Porker, who is a winner of numerous BBQ awards over his 31 years in the competitive barbecue world. 

“Our approach is to involve the barbecue community in how the competition is set up and judged and to involve the business community in creating a uniquely Memphis experience for barbecue fans and tourists who would like to experience our city,” said Smith.

For more information, teams can contact Forward Momentum at [email protected] or at

About Forward Momentum

Forward Momentum is owned by a group of prominent Memphians focused on improving our city and our music and tourism industries. Our mission is to ignite the power of live music and events, creating extraordinary experiences that resonate with fans.

For more information, contact:
Lindsay Stevens
[email protected]

Mike Smith, Forward Momentum
[email protected]

SOURCE Forward Momentum

Originally published at
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